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Thursday, December 12, 2013
Gassy baby & feeding schedule question
Hi! I have a 4 month old boy. He is happy all day until he`s asleep. He wakes up numerous times with gas. I am sure it`s from what I ate at dinner. I eat fairly healthy. Are there certain things (common) that I should not consume while breastfeeding to ease him? I know not to eat chocolate & too much dairy, but I didn`t know if there were main course & vegetables I should avoid. Also, I had a question about his feeding schedule now since he is taking rice cereal now. I have been doing the 3 hour schedule (feed, awake, sleep). Now that I got that down, I`m confused if I should be changing it up as he gets older. Should I put him on a 4 to 5 hour feeding schedule now? And, should I switch out two of the six feedings with rice cereal or should I not do that until he can consume enough? Right now, I have been feeding him the cereal and breastfeeding him right before and right after, since I am only giving him about 2 tbs of the rice with milk. My third question is how do I wean him off. I want to feed to about 6 months, but don`t know how I should do this process without making my breasts sore. Should I start gradually subing out some of the breastfeedings with formula? For instance, one meal one week, two meals week two & so on? I am lost. Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it.
The most common offender in a breastfeeding mother’s diet is cow milk protein. The best way to eliminate the baby’s gas problems is to completely remove ALL milk and dairy products form your diet. It will take from 3 to 5 weeks to clear the offending protein from your breast tissue, so although you may see only a slight improvement in the baby at first, it is important to persist with the dairy-free diet for at least 5 weeks. Main courses to avoid are cheese casseroles, salads with cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lasagna, etc. Chocolate contains milk, so it is good to avoid it. Vegetables are safe and healthy and will not bother the baby.
In rare cases, soy might be a problem, but most babies do well if their mothers drink soy milk instead of cow milk. It is well known by allergists that cow milk protein very frequently irritates the human infant gut.
Most pediatricians (along with the Academy of Pediatrics) now recommend waiting 6 months before starting any solids. Sometimes rice cereal can interfere with the proper balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Breast milk has the perfect balance of these nutrients.
At 6 months your baby will need additional iron and zinc. These minerals are best obtained from meats (pureed). Baby cereals are fortified with iron and zinc, and can then be added in small amounts. Vegetables and fruits can be added next until the baby is taking 3 meals of solids per day. One new food can be added about every 3 days.
If you would like to continue breastfeeding for a while, then always offer the breast before the solids. If you offer the solids first, the baby will be less hungry for the breast milk and will drain the breast less thoroughly. That will slowly result in a decrease in your milk production, and is a very natural and safe way to wean. Then formula can be offered when the baby is still thirsty after the breast is “empty” or drained.
You would be wise to choose the formula carefully, since some babies, especially those who have experienced problems with their mother’s milk that contained cow milk protein, may have problems with formulas made from cow’s milk. There are soy formulas to choose from if your baby has such difficulties. No whole cow’s milk should be offered until he is a full year old… not even in his cereal.
The feeding intervals can be prolonged to 4, then 5 hours once he is on solids. A gradual increase is best. You are doing the right thing by him by offering the breast again after the solids. Children usually need snacks between meals when they are growing rapidly. These should be healthy snacks, preferably not sweets or candy.
I hope this has answered most of your questions. If not, please write again!
Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati